The fundamental principle of the Juche philosophy is that man is the master of everything and decides everything.
But this fundamental principle of the Juche philosophy is scientifically produced on the basis of a new understanding of the man. Therefore, in order to have a deep understanding about the fundamental principle of the Juche philosophy, it is important to have an understanding of the man as clarified by the Juche idea.
Historically, the question of what kind of being man is and what essential features he has, had been the primary question of philosophy since the beginning of the philosophical thinking of humankind.
Filon, an ancient Roman philosopher said that there were 208 kinds of views of human being in that period, and Heine, a German poet expressed strong desire to know human being in his poem “puzzle of human life”.
“Oh, please solve the puzzle of human life,
The old puzzle full of agony,
…tell me, What is human being?
Where did he come from? Where does he go?”
Thesis of human being of those people in ancient slave-hold society such as Democritus, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustinus, Thomas Aquinath and thesis of human being in renaissance period and thesis of human being written by classic German philosophers such as Kant, Schilling, Hegel and Feuerbach and the controversies that have taken place through many centuries could not give correct view.
One of the main reasons is that the previous philosophers tried to discover the essence of man, regarding him as a simple material being or mental being because they focused on the question of relations between matter and consciousness.
That is also because the essential features of man was distorted suiting to the taste of the reactionary exploiting classes and used to justify the exploiting societies, as the question of man’s essence is the socio-political question that reflected the class interests of philosophers not simple academic question.
It was Marxism which clarified man as social being for the first time claiming “man is, in essence, totality of social relations” against the unscientific and reactionary viewpoint that regarded man as a simple material or biological being or mental being.
Marxism explained that man is a being defined by the social relations but failed to explain what the essential features of man are. It was inevitable for Marxism to have considered social being as the material conditions of human activity and mode of production, attaching decisive significance to them.
The Juche idea raised it as an important philosophical task to explain the essential features of man and for the first time in history gave the most correct answer to it and thus established a perfect philosophical understanding of man.
General Secretary Kim Jong Il said.
“Considering man in social relations the Juche idea cast a new light on his essential features. It expounded that man is a social being with independence, creativity and consciousness, and thus gave a perfect philosophical elucidation of man.”
Man is a social being with independence, creativity and consciousness. Herein lies the perfect philosophical elucidation of man.
Now we study about that man is a social being, before explaining the independence, creativity and consciousness, the essential attributes of man. That is because the word, social being is used in the Juche philosophy as an important concept which enables to find the essential features of man that is fundamentally different from all other material beings and because it regarded it as the starting point of the philosophical explanation of man.
As a biological organism, man is born, grows and dies, with the natural and biological attributes, according to the biological law. This is well-known fact.
If this is absolutized, regarding man as natural and biological being, one can fall to wrong view of finding the essential features of man in the natural and biological attributes, considering his attributes as the development of biological attributes. It is true that man has a biological organism and natural and biological attributes commensurate with it, but the essential features of man are not there.
What is essential and important for man is in the social aspect. Therefore, only when one starts from the fact that man is a social being, is it possible to correctly find the essential attributes of man in the social attributes, in the philosophical consideration of man.
Herein lies important reason that one should start from the social being in the philosophical consideration of man.
What is the meaning of the social being?
General Secretary Kim Jong Il said.
“Man is a social being. This implies that he is a being who lives in a social relationship. This term is used to distinguish man from a natural being.”
When man is referred to a social being, it means a being who lives and conducts activity in social relationship differently from natural being.
Man lives in the society unlike the other living matters. Man’s life and activity are possible only in the social collective that is organically linked on the basis of a certain social relations.
There can not be a man who lives outside of social relations. It is therefore a peculiar mode of existence for man to live and conduct activity forming the social collective in social relations.
Of course, there are animals such as ants and bees that exist in groups according to a certain orders, building nests jointly and procuring food. But there is a qualitative difference between the animals’ mode of group life based on a certain order and group relation and a peculiar mode of existence of man who forms and lives in social relations.
According to data, monkeys and chimpanzees maintain their special voice and walking manner as it is although they live apart from their groups after their birth. This shows the fact that the mode of existence or mode of activity of the animals are defined not by the group relations but by instinct based on the pure genetic information,. Thus, monkeys and chimpanzees become monkeys and chimpanzees from their birth.
But it is quite different in case of man.
If he grows apart from social relations, even though he is gifted person, he cannot do upright walking peculiar for him to say nothing of speaking and thinking. In other words, man can not be said to be a real man only with his biological birth, and only when man forms social collective and lives in social relations, will he be able to exist and develop as a man.
For the existence and development of man, the social relations become an indispensable and permanent conditions and herein lies the essential meaning that man is a social being.
When man is referred to a social being in Juche philosophy, some questions should be made clear.
Only man is a social being in the world.
There are social wealth and social relations in society except for man. Social wealth and social relations belong to society, they do not belong to nature. Social wealth and social relations are created by man, a social being.
As creator and creation can not be the same, so social wealth and social relations can never be the same as man, the social being. If social wealth and social relations created by man is regarded as social being, then the essential difference of man and them become doubtful. So social being in the world is the only man who creates and enjoys social wealth in social relations.
Next, it is necessary to make clear of the essential differences between the concept of social being in the Juche philosophy and the starting-point concept of social being in Marxist materialistic world outlook.
As stated previously, the preceding classics criticized the mystical and idealistic view of man and the biological and abstract view considering man outside of social relations, defining the essence of man as a “totality of social relations”. This the first recognition of man as social being, thus being a great advance in the philosophical understanding of man.
But the concept of social being used by the preceding classics in evolving the basic principle of materialism means material conditions of social life, the economic relations that are distinguished from social consciousness. Of course they considered man as a component element of the productive forces and the totality of social relations, so man is also included in the concept of social being. But they did not use the word of social being as a peculiar meaning that defines the essential features of man and failed to make clear that man is a social being. Besides, only with their concept of social being, it is possible to clarify that man is a being who is defined by social relations and the mode of production, but it is impossible to clarify that man forms and develops independently and creatively social relations.
Recognizing that man is restricted and influenced by social relations, the Juche philosophy clarified that it is basic and essential aspect that man forms and develops the social relations purposefully and consciously, thus clarifying genuine meaning of the concept of social being.
Herein lies the characteristic of the Juche-oriented clarification of social being. Therefore, it is evident that the concept of social being between the Juche philosophy and the preceding philosophy is not the same.
The viewpoint that man is a social being clarified by the Juche idea is the valuable viewpoint that provided the premise which could scientifically clarify the essential attributes of man. By the viewpoint that man is a social being, it is possible to correctly clarify the essential attributes of man that exist in social being only.
The Juche idea established the most scientific understanding that man’s essential attributes are independence, creativity and consciousness proceeding from that man is a social being.